By David Schneider
Little Bow MLA
Schneider said, the more we learn about the largest tax increase in Alberta’s history, the worse the news gets. While this home grown carbon tax will have no effect on climate, it will pump hundreds of millions of dollars out of our province, even as Alberta weathers a once-in-a-generation recession.
Fact is, according to a recent report from the non-partisan Library of Parliament, the federal government stands to become one of the primary beneficiaries of this tax. The devil is indeed in the details.
About one year ago, the Canada Revenue Agency announced any and all carbon taxes collected across Canada would be subject to G.S.T. And we are not talking about pocket change here.
Having calculated the cost to Alberta and B.C., the two provinces where carbon taxes are already in place, the Library of Parliament expects the extra G.S.T alone will cost taxpayers $130 million in 2017, and $150 million in 2018. The flood of cash leaving Alberta will only rise in subsequent years, as the Alberta and federal governments work to raise Alberta’s carbon tax from $10/tonne to $50/tonne.
This non-partisan report effectively counters both the prime minister’s claims the carbon tax is revenue-neutral, and the premier’s claim all of the money collected would stay in Alberta. The government also refused to release a comprehensive economic analysis of the plan, while internal government documents showed a projected 20 per cent rise in electricity prices for Alberta’s industries, and a significant blow to Alberta’s GDP, impacting thousands of jobs.
So, with Ottawa poised to collect hundreds of millions off of the Alberta carbon tax, my question is — why isn’t the premier “standing up for Albertans?” The entire front row repeats this tired phrase every time they rise during Question Period. Could it be, perhaps, because it won’t cost them a dime?
That’s right. While your family and your business get stuck with the additional tax bill, Alberta’s government is largely exempt from paying G.S.T., as are its numerous boards and agencies.
Like most NDP policies it seems, the Alberta carbon tax has been rushed through the legislature, and the fine details have been left for the regulations, which the opposition nor the public see until they begin to affect us.
Our next door neighbour, Premier Brad Wall, is contesting the federal carbon tax that has been levied on all provinces. Mr. Wall has no intention of allowing a federal carbon tax in Saskatchewan, and is moving forward with a constitutional challenge. It will be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
Many agri-businesses in Alberta have reached out to Opposition. They are large users of natural gas, and cannot compete on a world stage with countries that have no carbon tax. Government policies do matter.
Along with agri-businesses, a lot of my time in Edmonton in the last month has been spent with the many issues of 1,000,000 unharvested acres still laying out in central Alberta.
Team Alberta had a conference call with the minister and suggested many of the same outcomes my colleagues and I had already recommended. No matter.
At time of writing, AFSC adjusters are busy doing pre-harvest inspections. That’s what those farmers need.
Graduations are starting in the riding, and my staff is working to schedule as many exercises as possible.